Thursday, May 28, 2015
dennis: SERVING MS. BROWN, PART 4 – WEEKLY STAFF MEETING
The board is assembled for our weekly staff meeting. Carol enters, “Good morning, Ladies,” She says, and it’s all business from that moment forward. Each manager will go through Her department’s activities and issues. i take a seat to Carol’s right and open my steno book. While i’m at the meeting because i run a department, it’s no secret that my ability to take shorthand would have me here even if weren’t a manager. i frequently sit in on Carol’s highest-level, most sensitive meetings because of shorthand. i'll record the proceedings in detail, including developing a report to send to the attendees for their approval and add any issues they may want noted before making it part of the current record.
Carol is a capable and personable executive, but She is a Business Woman and She means business. By Her own admission, She’s a Bitch first and a Lady second. She wants Her staff to take the initiative, and there’s hell to pay when She perceives they haven’t – we’ll see an example of that today, and it won’t be tom or me on the receiving end.
This week after routine updates, we have hiring on the agenda, specifically eight offers for a variety of technical positions that are going to be offered to applicants, all recent college grads, three men and five Women. The Female candidates are well known to us, we’ve employed all of them as interns throughout their academic preparation. Their qualifications are impeccable. All things being equal, we’d hire a Woman over a man but it rarely comes to that; Women are presenting excellent credentials compared to many male applicants.
Carol and other executive Women have structured a college outreach and a variety of internal programs targeted at attracting Women to technical careers and ensuring they succeed. We’re all committed Feminists and believe that economic empowerment is absolutely essential to Women overcoming the still-too-prevalent sexist attitudes and structures that confront them.
“Why are we hiring so many men?” Carol wants to know. “We can’t find three Women? How about two Women, or even one?” She asks, obviously disturbed. Carol is assured that the three men have unique skills – mobile applications development – that we need. “So three Women were denied positions,” Carol asks, looking to Joan, our HR manager. “Not yet, but Yes,” Joan responds sheepishly. “Putting aside mobile applications, were they good candidates?” Carol asks. “Oh, yes, very good candidates,” Joan responds. “So we have three talented Women who are going to work for competitors? Am I right?” Joan stammers a bit, wanting to extricate Herself from a touchy situation. Carol doesn’t want to hear Joan’s response. “Well, hire the men and make offers to the three Women, too,” insists Carol, “and make sure they are focused on mobile applications once we get them in here.” “Yes, Ma’am,” Joan responds, trying to raise a concern about budgets. Carol cuts Joan off, “Just get it done! I’ll worry about budgets. And I want you in here at eight Wednesday morning to review your progress, and I want progress!”
The meeting lasts for an hour, then Carol brings it to a close with Her traditional send-off, “OK, Ladies, have a good week!” Carol, still perturbed by Joan, stops Her on the way out and requests a meeting with the Dean of Computer Science at the college that we so generously support – subject: mobile applications. Carol and i meet immediately afterward; i’ll be following up with the various staff members, particularly Joan. Carol is angry with Joan, but i try and calm Her by recalling all that Joan has done for our company. i remind Her that Joan has been our HR manager since we became a Woman-owned company and that She’s driven significant change:
§ Taken us from being a place where even the most talented Women couldn’t get ahead to one where Female management was the norm.
§ Traditionally Female departments are now 100% female-staffed AND -managed
§ Drove our university outreach and mentoring programs
§ Doubled the number of Women in technical positions and tripled the number of Female technical managers
§ Greatly changed the company culture, particularly male attitudes about Women – no small feat!
§ Improved the lot of Women in traditional secretarial and administrative positions by increasing salaries and creating paths for advancement such as ‘office manager’ positions
§ Hired men into traditionally Female secretarial and administrative positions. Her efforts and more attractive salaries are attracting male candidates. Men in these roles are typically supervised by Female office managers. If current trends continue, our company will soon have secretarial and administrative positions staffed by a majority of men.
§ Established a mentoring program for Women
Carol, sees my point and i convince Her She should have lunch with Joan on Wednesday to discuss these issues – besides, i tell Her, it seems like our University Dean dropped the ball on mobile applications, not Joan. “Set it up,” Carol commands, as She abruptly turns to leave, the cadence of Her heels on the hardwood floor announcing Her departure. i take great satisfaction in calling Joan and having Her reserve time on Her schedule for a Wednesday lunch with Carol.